Newsletter #499

The best crowd for 5 years thanks to some creative segregation – York should thank their lucky stars it wasn’t raining, otherwise they’d have been wet as well as relegated. Not the best performance this season, but good enough to see off a physical York side who lapsed into some atrocious challenges towards the end. Bournemouth’s ‘on, on, on, on, off’ season finally ended with the switch most definitely in the ‘off’ position, their defeat allowing Wigan to make the sixth place and a tie against a well-known team from Ardwick. On the way home from the game, I was gently amused by the denizens of Wigan who confidently predicted (via the GMR phone-in) our imminent demise! Funny though, not a single City fan reciprocated – seems we’re not arrogant enough!

This issue has two match reports, a matchview, ticket details, and a news summary from Geoff Donkin, standing in for Peter for an issue (thanks to Geoff).

Next issue is Number 500, and will contain a few ‘celebratory’ articles written by several MCIVTA-ers who were there in the early days, and who’ve been there as MCIVTA grew and grew.

Next game, Wigan Athletic away, play-off semi-final first leg, Saturday 15th May 1999


MANCHESTER CITY vs. YORK CITY, Saturday 8th May 1999

A pretty mixed bag on Saturday as far as the weather was concerned in Manchester.

The morning had started of nice and bright, turned grey and wet but then turned dry. As we made our way towards the Theatre of Hope, it was warm and sunny, but we got soaked on the way back to the car after the game; however, the result we were on our way to witness was to make the drenching irrelevant.

The only pre-match preparation that I had made was to try to put some sort of voodoo or hex onto York. My most successful this season had been against Lincoln when I ate a number of Lincoln biscuits in a ceremonial eating of the opposition. Well I couldn’t find any York biscuits so I made a rather elaborate Royal power play happen inside my head.

I imagined that the Duke of York (as in the Grand Old) was there to champion his team. I decided that my own metaphorical gauntlet that I would throw down would be a collection of Viscount biscuits – three orange creams in fact.

Now I don’t know if a Viscount outranks a Duke, but just to be safe I ate three in quick succession and pictured the Duke being stunned at the way my Viscounts just disappeared – this was my omen, and do you know I think it worked!

I also intend to eat a number of pies from Wigan before the semis so that I can ceremoniously imagine their destruction as they pass through my body.

It was always going to be a big crowd, the folk from York, with the absurd title of Minster Men had been allocated the Gene Kelly stand only, and this allowed the maximum number of Blues to get into the North Stand.

As we approached the stadium we walked across the Kippax car park and saw some of the York fans already up in their seats, this was a desperate day for them and their team as the prospect of relegation stared them in the face.

Others had set up stalls outside to continue hawking the cheap, shoddy souvenirs one is offered when visiting York – such as small models of York Minster carved out of soap. One family had even produced a complete scaled model of all the interesting non-tourist places of interest in York, funnily enough they had managed to carve this onto the side of a single wooden peg.

I don’t want to be accused of poking fun at the York folk but you should have seen the state of some of their coaches – they looked barely roadworthy. One looked suspiciously like a motorised longboat, no doubt pilfered from the Jorvik Viking tourist attraction for the weekend. The Yorkshire folk who had made it to Manchester were certainly in for a treat. For a team that has an average gate of some 3,500 or so it must have been great to be in a crowd of some 32,500.

Although our season has a little more to run there was a special atmosphere at the ground, we were in the play-offs and the club has been turned round.

Pre-match requests for fans not to go on the pitch boomed from the PA system, there was some concern that the pitch should remain playable for our last step to Wembley.

Clearly the York players wanted to make the most of their day and they spent a long time on the pitch, no doubt enjoying the pre-match build up. We had a treat from a group of lads (I think they are called Supra) who sang the new version of Blue Moon – they came onto the pitch and blasted a superb rendition of it (that I gather is going to available on disc via the souvenir shop). By this time the sun was shining and we had that old Village People disco classic blaring out – YMCA.

The York crowd were a dull lot, rather like their Viking forefathers they had shod themselves in sackcloth, but even they seemed to be enjoying the loud music, although clearly many of them didn’t understand the whole concept of electronic music and amplification. These folk had lit small fires at the bottom of the stand and sang simple songs whilst they strummed their lutes and dreamed of the fireboats that would take them to Valhalla.

When our boys came onto the pitch early to kick footballs into the crowd, Maine Road went into overdrive. We were ecstatic. 32,471 were packed in and what a great reception we gave to our team. After kicking the balls into the crowd, the players held up a sign acknowledging the fans; I have to say at that moment I thought about absent Blues around the globe and I wanted you to be there, I wanted you to feel the genuine good feeling around the Academy. As a poor substitute I took a couple of pictures and when I get them developed I’ll make them available and let you know how to get them – you will of course be very welcome to have an electronic copy.

As we clapped and cheered and dreamed of better things to come, a huge rainbow rose above the Gene Kelly stand; at first I thought it was some biblical sign, some mystical symbol leading us to our destiny. I suppose it was the rising steam that had given it away – the steam was rising from the sea of golden urine splashing down the steps, yes the whole thing, the noise, the excitement the crowd had just been too much for the York folk (yorkies?) and it seemed they had all involuntarily pi**ed themselves with fear or excitement. The combination of the warm sun on their liquid waste had produced this splendid meteorological effect.

Onto the game itself. We were at the Minster Men straight away, by the second minute Bishop went airborne to lash a decent scissor kick towards the Minsters’ net – it just flashed wide but it was a good effort. We had a few decent attempts all within the first 15, a change for the better from a few recent matches where we seem to have been a bit too laid back for my liking at the start. We did seem to lack the real drive that we needed in the following quarter though.

It may have been the rather garish kit that the Minsters wore that was putting us off. It really was horrible, it’s almost a sort of neon red/orange; it’s just too bright and looks like it has been made from the sort of cheap material used for producing the rather loud and cheap sports clothes that one finds street traders peddling.

Although loud and garish, it does sport a rather stylish blue and white stripe down each side of the shirt, this matches a similar stripe on the shorts. The cuffs of the upper garment are also trimmed in blue, with a matching brightly coloured hose to complete the sporting ensemble. The whole lot is nicely spoiled by the rather unattractive corporate logo – Portakabin.

Back to the game – Horlock showed what were quite simply dazzling skills. It was a joy to watch as he lifted the ball from one side to the other to mesmerise the York player, as the ball was pulled across he smashed it goalwards; if that had gone in make no mistake that would have been a great goal.

Not to worry though, as Michael Brown was also able to show superb skills. He put in a lobbing cross from the bye line to allow Dickov to head home. We had a great view of this one and you knew even before he had made contact that this one was going in.

It was about this time that the York fans made a rather curious and slightly stupid statement. They sang as one “We are York, we are York, we are York”. I wanted to explain to them that they were not actually York and that York was just one big tourist attraction without any identity at all, although it does now, like Lincoln, have a Third Division football team.

We lost Bishop to injury at about the half-hour mark, and although we went in 1-0 up at half time it could have been more. Wiekens had been unlucky when his shot hit the bar and Whitley had been able to probe the defence as well.

The second half seemed a bit odd really, I don’t know if it was that whole end of season thing but both teams were not looking at their best, and the game was just ticking along for the most part. We were in control and looking pretty good, I was confident that we would score again, I think though that most of us were hoping that Weaver could keep a clean sheet and establish a new club record – he deserved it so much this season. York had their moments and Weaver was called on a couple of times to make saves that as ever he did with his usual aplomb.

Some superb renditions of Blue Moon boomed around the ground and City seemed lifted by the noise – we were going to score there was no doubt about that and in response to the demands from the stands Horlock stretched the net round about the 75 minute mark – we laughed openly and cruelly at the fate of York. We knew Oldham were winning, so it was not good news for the Minster Men, but that’s football.

Our joy was further boosted as Whitley and Allsopp grabbed another two. It finished 4-0 and we had been good value, Dickov had played his heart out again and had gone off to rapturous applause around the 75/80-minute mark I think. Horlock looked good and Weaver kept that clean sheet.

We had been without Morrison and Goater for this game and had still done well. The way the other games panned out mean that we will play Wigan in the semis. No doubt they are already baking some celebration pie and getting the flat caps ready for their great day.

I’m confident that we’ll see them off and I think face Gillingham at Wembley – somehow I think they will see off Preston.

The only real blight for me on this is that I won’t be able to get to the semi; can you believe it? Of all the times in the entire world to have unchangeable work commitments – I must fly to Bulgaria on Saturday and am not due to return home until Thursday. I’m gutted but can’t avoid it unless the situation worsens in Serbia/Kosovo and makes travel unwise.

I’m doubly gutted as I already have my ticket. In a remarkable display of efficiency, City despatched tickets to those on the direct debit scheme earlier in the week (open of course without the opponents on).

You can bet I’ll be phoning home on Saturday night and Wednesday night and I just know the news will be good – see you at Wembley.

Tony Burns (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. YORK CITY, Saturday 8th May 1999

Another huge crowd – not only did we manage the highest attendance at Maine Road for 5 years, but we were able to beat most of the Premier division too. We were, I believe, third highest, fourth if you count the attendance at Sunderland on the Sunday.

City lined up more-or-less as expected, with Weaver in goal, the four of Edghill, Wiekens, Vaughan and Crooks in defence, Horlock, Brown, Bishop and Cooke in midfield with Dickov and Taylor the attacking pair. Morrison and Goater were both out, so the subs’ bench lined up: Allsopp, Tiatto and Jeff Whitley.

The start wasn’t too promising, each defender seeming to take it in turns to give the ball away. It wasn’t long before Weaver had his first chance to save City with an excellent save from a shot.

Unfortunately then, Bishop had to go off with an injury and Jeff Whitley came on in his place. City started to go forward though, and one or two chances were squandered, not least by Taylor who wasn’t having a good game in front of goal, even if some of his midfield play was quite useful.

Then, a goal. Brown took the ball along the edge of the penalty area, and rounded the York ‘keeper well, getting a cross in which was a simple header for Dickov.

Then the nasty stuff started from some of the crowd – “Going Down, going down, going down” to the York fans wasn’t terribly intelligent. After all, I think we’ve been on the receiving end of this one too many times lately haven’t we?

At half time, 1-0 was about right. City had dominated play but not taken all their chances (and how many times have we heard this?).

The second half started pretty much as the first ended. Good chances wasted, although Wiekens had an excellent shot tip the crossbar. Taylor was substituted by Allsopp, and City started to look a bit quicker.

Then the second goal, an excellent shot from the edge of the penalty area by Kevin Horlock, and it did a lot to settle City’s nerves. It also forced York to start to go forwards, and this left gaps for City to exploit. City’s third goal was a nice, simple affair… free kick on the edge of the area, Horlock knocked the ball square to Jeff Whitley who fired in a lovely shot along the ground which went through the crowd of players into the net. At last – a nice simple move, not involving City players passing the ball round on the edge of the opponents’ area!

The fourth goal was nicely taken, through the ‘keeper’s legs and at a tight angle by Allsopp.


In general: Not altogether convincing. Good enough to beat poor 2nd Division opponents easily, but we’ve got to think forwards to next season and the prospect of 1st Division opponents, the likes of Forest, Charlton and Wolves. I would be interested in knowing how many of the current first team will cut it in such company.

We’ve got to tighten up in defence. Any mistakes will be punished by 1st Division teams in the way that they won’t by those in the Second. Also we’ve got to find a striker who can take his chances, unless Allsopp continues in the way he started on Saturday.

Weaver 9 Another excellent performance to claim his record. Well deserved, although next season may be more of a test.
Edghill 5 Not a good game by Edgy. Too many wayward passes, and he gave the ball away too many times by being caught in possession.
Wiekens 7 One or two dodgy passes, but he was solid as ever and put in some telling passes.
Vaughan 6 Looked less solid than he has of late. He still is far better than at the start of the season.
Crooks 6 Not bad in defence, but seemed at times to lack ideas going forwards.
Horlock 7 Scored a nice goal, had to command midfield once Bishop went off, and seemed to do so reasonably well.
Brown 6 Not one of his better games. The first goal was made excellently by him though.
Bishop 7 Not much chance to see him before he had to go off.
Cooke 5 Was rather anonymous. Crosses wayward, and didn’t do much from set plays. Let’s hope he’s saving himself for Wigan. Either that or too many sleepless nights with the baby! Do we expect too much of him now?
Dickov 7 Ran around a lot but didn’t really achieve a great deal. He missed one or two good chances.
Taylor 6 I didn’t think he deserved quite as much vitriol as he got from some of the crowd. He was poor in front of
goal (which is after all, what he’s paid for!) but he provided some useful knock ons. I can’t see him making it in a First Division
City team though.

Allsopp 7 Better than I’ve seen before. He was quick and took the last goal very well. He’s always seemed a bit lightweight before, maybe he’ll start to come into his own now?
Jeff Whitley 7 I think he had trouble finding his place in the team. He missed a good chance, but scored a nice goal.
Tiatto 6 Didn’t see enough of Danny to be able to judge.

So, it’s Wigan in the play-offs. I expect both games to be tight, low scoring affairs. I hate to say it, but I think the City team had better start to work on their penalties. God forbid that we should have to go to penalties, but we should be ready for that occurrence, recalling that City’s penalty taking has not been of the best order this year…

Also the other semi should be interesting given that Gillingham now have home advantage for the second leg. I would have plumped for Preston to go through, but now I’m not so sure. I might switch and predict a City-Gillingham final.

Euan Bayliss (


We weren’t that great, but their defence was a lot worse than ours. That’s about it.

Slightly Longer Explanation In Support Of The Above Match Report:

At least 2 of the City goals were down to gross defensive errors – e.g. for the first (Dickov’s) it was very bad goalkeeping judgement. Despite scoring 4, I don’t think we ever looked “rampant”, and let’s not forget the last 3 didn’t arrive till fairly late in the game (i.e. a York collapse at the end). For three quarters of the game York had a fair percentage of the attacking and could and should have done a lot better, but seemed not to know what to do when they got near our penalty area. This was largely because defensively we were a much tighter unit than they were.

Steve Maclean (


So now we know. For once in recent seasons, City fans could enjoy themselves on the last day without worrying too much about what happened elsewhere. The highest crowd at Maine Road for 5 years (32,471) – since the final home game of the 1993-94 season when 33,594 saw a 2-2 draw with Chelsea in the Premiership before the old Kippax stand was knocked down – watched City secure 3rd place and home advantage in the first leg of the semi-final. The real drama occurred elsewhere as Bournemouth who’d not been out of the top six since before Christmas could not defeat Wrexham (who had our own Tommy Wright in goal for them), thus allowing Wigan to snatch the final play-off place on goals scored. The final table clearly shows where our downfall has been this season; all four play-off qualifiers won 22 games yet we finished 6 points in front of Wigan because City drew more than the others as a consequence of scoring the least goals of the four. Very much a season of two halves; had we played as well before Christmas as we did after, we’d be putting our feet up and contemplating next season’s Division 1 fixture list. As it is, Blue nerves will be doubtless be frayed in the next 10 days, but I guess most of us never expected City to do this the easy way. Here’s hoping that for once the fates are with us.

Post-Match Thoughts

On a personal note, I was really pleased that for once on my all too rare visits to the Academy the Blues actually scored and won, something they’d not done on my last two visits; I was considering staying away for good in case I was some kind of Jonah; no, there isn’t any gypsy blood in the family! For most of the game you’d never have predicted the final result; our taking the lead was a little against the run of play and even afterwards we looked lethargic and intent on avoiding bookings and injury (York were dishing it out and the referee could never have been accused of being a ‘homer’). I’d like to think for Gareth Taylor’s sake that our scoring 3 after he went off was coincidence (many Blue View posters were less sympathetic over the weekend!) but it all came right in the end. The crowd streamed away afterwards clearly in high spirits so in that sense it was a good send off. I also managed to make it to the Parkside for the first time; talk about industrial-scale drinking! Didn’t get to meet any of the BV regulars, though saw the signs; maybe next time!

We also managed to do Oldham a favour; their chairman David Brierley and manager Andy Ritchie said a personal thank-you to Joe boss who said “It was always in my mind to help Oldham. I wanted us to win anyway and I feel sorry for York but I’m glad we helped Oldham. It’s a fairytale club and I’m delighted for them.” I’m sure he wasn’t so charitable after they’d won at Maine Road!

Play-Off Arrangements

Tickets for the 1st leg are likely to be pretty scarce, with Springfield Park having a capacity of only 6,500 and we’re due to get 1,200. They go on sale this Wednesday from 5.30pm and are available to regular season ticket holders only on the presentation of five away ticket stubs.

However, the good news for those unable to get a ticket is that the game is to be shown ‘live’ at Maine Road. A giant screen will face the Kippax meaning that around 10,000 tickets will be on sale, priced £6 for adults and £3 for children. Tickets are available from Thursday at 9.00am to season ticket holders on production of voucher RR. They go on open sale from Friday.

Tickets are already being snapped up for the second leg with 7,500 seats already sold as of Saturday afternoon according to TeamTalk, but season ticket holders have until 6.30pm on Tuesday to claim their regular place for the game. Wigan’s precise allocation seems to be unclear, but ought to be small if it’s a function of their average home attendance, leaving more room for noisy Blues.

You might be surprised to know that Joe is not a believer in the play-off system, saying “I’m a fan of the system now that we’re in but I don’t believe that what is in effect another cup competition should be added to the end of a long, hard season. It may generate more money for clubs but the 46 league games should be enough to decide which teams should gain promotion.” I guess we’d have settled for this chance at Christmas when the season was really in danger of coming to a premature end.

Early Team News

We go into our first ever (hopefully last!) play-off with a more or less full-strength squad. Andy Morrison and Shaun Goater missed Saturday’s game through injury, but both are all but certain to be in contention for the first leg; Ian Bishop’s hamstring injury, however, looks likely to rule him out with Jeff Whitley a likely replacement given his scoring contribution on Saturday, especially given continuing doubts over Jamie Pollock’s match fitness after two reserve team run-outs last week.

A question mark still hangs over Andy Morrison in the wake of his 14th booking of the season. The City captain is waiting to hear from the Football Association when he has to make a personal appearance and the timing of the hearing is critical to any suspension he may serve. A ban would probably take effect immediately but another unknown factor is whether it is for two matches, which would rule him out of both legs.


The ‘cash injection’ story seems to have resurfaced today as a ‘takeover’, according to TeamTalk who claim talks are “at an advanced stage” with reports of a major company involved in a massive cash injection in the club. David Bernstein has been involved in discussions with several companies over the past few months, with the new “major company” reportedly set to invest £25 million into the club within the next few weeks. A club source was quoted as saying: “We are in talks with a major company and we have reached the final stages. We have had a lot of interest in the club for some time but we have progressed well and hopefully we will secure this deal and the club can get back to where it belongs.” It’s also reported that an agreement with Manchester City Council has finally been reached over the Blues finally moving to the new Commonwealth Games Stadium at Eastlands, and that it will be signed this week. It has been claimed that the club will have to pay the total maintenance cost of the new stadium, plus an unnamed percentage of future gate receipts. Just another groundless TeamTalk rumour?

Attendances / Season Ticket Sales

For the stattos amongst us, the total crowd for 23 home games was 650,012, averaging 28,261 per game with a peak of 32,471 and a low of 24,021. Even that lowest was higher than anyone else’s highest, though clearly with so many small grounds around we didn’t have too much competition for the award for drawing the largest crowds. In 23 away games, 19 clubs had their highest crowd of the season against us, the exceptions being Blackpool (bettered in their derby game against Preston), Stoke (live on Sky TV when the home fans were protesting against their board); Fulham and Lincoln had their biggest crowds yesterday to give Kevin Keegan a mixed send-off and for the scrap with Wycombe for survival respectively.

All in all, support that many Premiership teams and most 1st Division teams would sell their granny to have, and duly acknowledged by the players who unfurled a huge banner before the game as a thank-you gesture to the fans saying “You’re the best and we know you are! Thanks for your support.” It looks like being carried forward into next season wherever we may be as season ticket sales at are heading for a record high which could land the Blues a cash windfall of some £2 million. A total of 11,000 season tickets have been sold already, including 1,000 new applicants, an increase of 40% on this stage last season. David Bernstein said: “I can’t say it often enough, we really appreciate how our fans have stuck by us this season. Over the years, this club has come in for plenty of criticism but you can never question the commitment of our supporters. They are phenomenal. I think that they can see that things are changing and that is reflected in the season ticket sales. Obviously, they can be important to us during the play-offs. The power of a 30,000 crowd at this stadium should be worth something. But this is only the start. I have said before that my dream is to see City back in the Premiership, playing in front of sell-out crowds every week.” We’ll all second that David!

Congratulations to Nicky Weaver

He played like a man with a mission on Saturday, a mission he duly accomplished. Alex Williams’ record of 21 clean sheets has stood for 14 years – no surprise there given our fortunes in the intervening years! – but Nick equalled it at Gillingham, and set a new one on Saturday, albeit over more games. He felt he’d blown it in conceding 4 goals in the games against Wycombe and Bristol Rovers, but talking in the match programme this weekend he gave credit to the solid Morrison/Wiekens defensive partnership in front of him for giving him the chance after a spell in which the opposition always managed to nick a goal in the games before Christmas. Here’s hoping he keeps many more clean sheets… starting with the next two games (I won’t tempt fate beyond those!). He’s also won the Junior Blues’ Player of the Year award and could be an outside bet for the main Supporters’ Club award too.

Reserves / Academy News

The City reserves rounded off their season on Thursday night by thrashing Grimsby Town’s reserves 6-1 at Blundell Park. Alan Bailey helped himself to a hat-trick, having recently returned from his loan spell at Macclesfield, the other goals coming from Danny Allsopp, Danny Tiatto and Gary Mason. The result confirms Grimsby’s bottom place finish, while City have finished the season in the top half of the table.

The under-17’s reward for thrashing Liverpool this week in their Academy Youth League quarter-final tie is a semi-final clash at Newcastle next Tuesday, May 11th; The game will take place at the Chester-le-Street training ground and has a 3.00pm kick-off.

Finally… A Milestone

All being well, if Pete Brophy has completed his personal business he’ll be back in the chair for Thursday’s issue, a milestone in McVittee’s history as it’s the 500th issue. Considering the relatively short time the Internet has been with most of us, McVittee stands as one of the best examples that I know of using the technology to bring together a widely dispersed ‘minority interest group’. I’m pleased to have played a small part in bringing it to the masses, but would like to take the opportunity of thanking on your behalf the support team regulars, and especially Ashley, for doing such a cracking job of keeping Blues in touch with the goings on at the club… if not with reality 🙂

Geoff Donkin (


It is now confirmed that we will play Wigan Athletic in the Division 2 play-off semi-finals. The 1st leg will be away on Saturday 15th May with the return leg at Maine Road on Wednesday 19th May, kick-off 7.45pm.

Season ticket holders can claim their usual seats for the home leg by presenting form ‘LL’ from their season ticket books and have until 6.30pm on Tuesday 11th May to do so. Supporters may apply in person or via our dial-a-seat service. Due to high demand for these tickets, personal application is strongly advised.

Members can purchase seats from 9.00am on Wednesday 12th May on production of a valid membership card. Supporters are limited to 1 ticket per card and 4 cards per person.

The balance of tickets will be on sale from 9.00am on Thursday 13th May to supporters with 3 ticket stubs from this season’s home matches which must include the Wycombe fixture. Tickets are limited to 4 per person.

A very limited number of standing tickets will go on sale to regular season ticket holders on presentation of voucher ‘NN’ and 5 stubs from different away matches this season from 5.30p.m. on Wednesday 12th May.

Full details of both these fixtures can be found on our Club Website.

Ticket Office – Manchester City


Calling all Blues in the North Staffordshire or South Cheshire area. The North Staffs branch of the supporters’ club are holding the end of season party on Friday 14th May 1999. Sadly this date was arranged before we knew we were in the play-offs but the date still stands.

The party will be held at the Tunstall Community Centre on High Street, Tunstall starting at 8.00pm and we are hoping that ex-MCFC manager and now boss at Port Vale Brian Horton and Moonchester will be able to come along. Admission costs 1 pound, 50p for juniors.

There are of course full bar facilities available and the evening will include the counting of votes for our player of the year, favourites for which include Wiekens and Taylor for scoring winning goals vs. Stoke. For more details please e-mail me.

CTTTOM (City til the thirtieth of May), Jim Curtis (


I’m a 17-year-old City fan from Washington, Tyne & Wear. So because of the distance of travel, I rarely get to visit Maine Road. The first time this season was yesterday against York, who are the most unprofessional team I have seen in a long time. I went to see them play host to Millwall, I couldn’t believe some of the things I was seeing:

  • the players walk into the ground
  • there is only 1 entrance for York fans (3 stands)
  • there is no food available in the home end so you have to go to the local chippy at half time
  • the supporters go to the game with other teams’ shirts on such as the obvious 4 (Rags, Liverpool, NUFC and Arsenal)
  • they only have one song: “We are York”

The quality of football was unbelievably crap and Marc Williams is unbelievably fat. The only team I’ve really had the chance to see this season are Sunderland (who have been absolutely outstanding this season and deserved what they got, Reidy has done a great job). This may be why I was so disappointed with York.

Then at Maine Road they were played off the park and I was disappointed to find they were relegated, but I am just writing in to say that City are the only Second Division team with any width about them and have played by far the best kind of game in the division. I was really impressed by Nick Weaver, he played a blinder. And Terry Cooke was impressive at his loan spell to Sunderland, but has improved since then. All the players deserve credit and especially the fans, the atmosphere was amazing. And the thing I’ll remember about the game for a long time is the chorus of Blue Moon just before the fourth goal, I didn’t see anyone who wasn’t up and singing (except my dad who is the Roker Roots of the family). We’re too classy for Division 2, and I can’t wait for my trip to Wembley.

P.S. I don’t know if you’ve heard it but Sunderland have brought out Niall Quinn’s Disco Pants as a single in the local music shops.

Well done everyone, Carl Hodgson, Washington, Tyne & Wear (


  1. What do you think about the idea of having a big screen at Maine Road for the Wigan away game? Will anyone turn up?
  2. The party in London seems a great idea – I’ll be there (that is of course if everything goes according to plan…) -along with my mum, dad and grandad (don’t give him any brandy please…).
  3. That was a good win on Saturday; cheered me up no-end – that was until Icame home and realised that I have got my French GCSE Speaking on Wednesday – merde!

CJJM, QELM, JP… (City jusqu’a je morte, qui est le Mercredi, je pense…), Christopher March – Marchie (


It was nice to read of the exploits of a fellow Canadian/Vancouverite succeeding at City (Terry Dunfield). You may be interested to note there is now quite a debate raging regarding Terry, since news has filtered through of his appearance for England U-17s. As a long-time City supporter I am excited at his development, but please, England, leave him to us. You have enough quality not to need him, but we’re crap and trying to improve. Terry, if you read this, we want you to play for us, and City. By the way, who was this other Canadian to play for City?

Steve Barlow (


Am I alone in getting extremely anxious about the impending play-off lottery? Actually, what I can’t bear to imagine is what I would feel if we failed to get promoted by this process. One year in the 3rd Division could be described as ‘interesting’, even a novel experience and has had some quaint charm about it. It’s almost been like a camping holiday or a week staying with an elderly aunt in Kendal. Another season would be utterly depressing and the thought of enduring Northampton, Wigan or Chesterfield or whoever, home or away for another year is too much to bear. It would be as if the aunt turned out to be Kathy Bates in that film when she crushed the legs of her guest.

I should be confident that we will get through but I detect a slight loss of form on our behalf coinciding with a resurgence in form for Gillingham. I think that they are the team to beat.

If I was religious I would try to invoke the Gods to help us. I’m not but could someone who is, pray, please?

Simon Fink (


By Noel Bayley – editor of Peter Hargreaves’ Rag Shirt

As my many fans and friends will know, I love a challenge… So just to re-cap, in a recent MCIVTA a certain Mr Hargreaves threw down the gauntlet thus:

“… from the tram station at the bottom of Warwick Road (which had to be renamed a few years ago because, yes, too many Rags were getting off the tram at the wrong stop!).”

“This is just plain nonsense and if Mr. Bayley can actually offer proof of this statement then I will buy a laser blue shirt. He will claim, of course, that he meant this to be a joke; he always does when somebody challenges something which he tries to slip in as fact.”

Of course, far from being a joke I knew this wasn’t plain nonsense, but how to prove it? Simple really. I rang Metrolink’s Queens Road depot on 0161 (for those Rags who live outside Manchester) 205 2000 and spoke to a very nice lady called Louise who informed me that: “On match days supporters used to get off at Old Trafford [now renamed Trafford Bar] instead of getting off at Warwick Road [now renamed Old Trafford].” Louise added that it was to “Stop the confusion” for cricket as well as football fans.

So Mr. Hargreaves, once you have given Louise a call and if you would still like to buy that laser blue shirt just as soon as Le Coq Sportif have released them to the shops, who better to buy it for than my good self? By the way, I would like an extra large size, my favourite player is Kevin Horlock and I hate cats!

Noel Bayley

I fully accept that I said “no more United articles for the time being”, however, as Peter Hargreaves did specifically challenge Noel on this matter, I do feel it’s correct to put this one in.



I think that Flitcroft currently has an ankle injury and is predicted to be fit again in August. Which isn’t going to do Blackburn a lot of good. I always look out to see how he is doing as I was gutted when City sold him. He always gets very high Carling Opta ratings. The most underrated midfielder in the Premiership? Gary, if you’re reading this: please pretend you’re useless so you’re offloaded. Then come back to Maine Road. Please.

CTABLPTECF (City ’til Alan Ball Leads Portsmouth to the European Cup Final – ha ha), Adam Jones (


In reply to Chris Loverage’s request about info on Garry Flitcroft – he’s been injured for a while at Blackburn now and probably won’t be back until next season. I’d love to have him back at City though, but it’s highly unlikely – a neighbour of mine who’s a season ticket holder at Ewood Park said that Rovers have really missed him and wouldn’t be in the relegation trouble they’re in if he was fit… incidently his name was being mentioned for an England call up before he was injured too.

CTID, Sarah Hawley (


If anybody can help me in getting a ticket for the play off semi-final home-leg can they please let me know.

Simon Cox (


My family (wife, two girls) and I will be spending a week’s holiday in Wassenaar, north of The Hague, in August. I wouldn’t mind seeing a match or visiting the Ajax Arena or some other football-related activity whilst I’m out there. If anyone can help then please contact me with details of web sites where I can find out.

P.S. last time I went to Holland was to watch City play Twente (God, City in Europe, how long ago was that?), drew 1-1, Dave Watson header I think. Saw half the Ipswich team come out of a brothel near Canal Strasser (last time they scored in Europe).

CTIDWWBOAHADTPND (City Til I Die which will be of a heart attack during the play-off’s no doubt), Peter Astbury [Councillor, 155 majority] a.k.a. Newton Blue (


Miami Blues – Help!

I have to spend a week in Miami from next Friday, so will miss both legs of the play-offs first round. Does anyone out there fancy meeting up on the Saturday or Sunday (whenever it turns out to be) to listen to the match and have a few pints? Please e-mail me a.s.a.p. Cheers.

Howard Cohen a.k.a. H (


Does anyone know where you can watch City on pay per view, for the play-offs, in or near Cambridge?

David Zemmel (


Born in St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester and dragged up in Marple, I’ve been a Blue since the age of about 6 or 7. My dad wasn’t much of a footie fan but there was a kid in my class at primary school called Stewart Bass who was both very good at football and very popular with the ladies. To be quite honest, if you were mates with Stewart Bass, you were made. Stewart had a season ticket and used to go to Maine Road every week with his brother and dad. After a brief flirtation with you-know-who (hey, I was only 7) I’d made my choice and was starting to put faces to names like Dennis Tueart, Kevin Reeves, Tommy Caton, Paul Power and the one and only Big Joe.

One Saturday morning my mum got a call from Mrs Bass saying that Stewart’s brother couldn’t make it to the game that weekend, and did she think I might be interested in going? By the time my mum had finished relaying the question to me I had already grabbed my scarf and bolted for the door. It was City vs. Swansea. I can’t remember the exact date but I have a feeling it was in the 80-81 season. We won 4-0 and I will never forget that the fourth goal was scored by Dennis Tueart when he nutmegged Dai Davies in the Swansea goal. Of course, around about this time we made it to the Cup Final where Tommy Hutchinson and Ricky Villa taught me all about the agony and the ecstasy of supporting the Blues. Despite the pain, any remaining doubts in my mind were blown away and I was hooked.

So Stewart Bass, if you’re out there, it’s all your fault. Cheers mate!

David Scott (


The Manchester United virus: Your PC develops a disorder whereby the memory forgets everything before 1993.

The Man U virus v.2: Sends all your data to Surrey.

The Man U virus v.3: Reclaims data from Surrey, relocates to Devon, then makes you pay to enter the system.

The Man United shirt virus: This one is especially hard to detect as it changes its identity every three months.

The Schmeichel virus: Your PC develops a hideous, large red dot in the middle of the screen, your monitor sprouts unsightly orange wires and then starts loudly racially abusing you.

The Beckham virus: The lights on your PC are all on but nothing works.

The Roy Keane virus: Throws you out of Windows.

The Alex Ferguson virus: Continuous whining until your PC explodes leaving you with nothing.

The Sheringham virus: Jumps from one computer to the other, ensuring all award winning programs fail.

The Dwight Yorke virus: Everything in your computer goes goofy.

The Blue and White virus family (Mainly from Italy) look like they may cause you problems for six months, but then fade away:

The Chelsea virus: Everything you print comes out in Italian and then you end up with f*** all.

The Graham Rix virus: Goes down for 6 months at a time but is always backed up.

The Dennis Wise virus: Gives up after two bytes.

The Gustavo Poyet virus: Your PC repeats this loop, it works brilliantly for 45 minutes, then breaks down for three months.

The Graham Le Saux virus: Picks up any passing mail.

The White virus family although they like to bill themselves as harmful, they really are nothing to worry about:

The Ian Walker virus: You just can’t save anything.

The Ian Walker virus v.2: Your PC will let you save once, but then the computer falls off of the desk and onto your foot.

The Ian Walker virus v.2.2: A particularly ugly virus which when combined with the Sol Campbell virus, your PC fails to pick up any Italian mail.

The Sol Campbell virus: Makes your computer think it’s better than it actually is.

The David Ginola virus: Computer pretends to go down, but then boots back up and is ok.

The George Graham virus: Falsely claims to have done nothing but then you realise half of you data has gone – It then transfers itself to your worst enemy’s PC, then trashes it.

The as yet unnamed virus from North London: At the moment, it has got two titles, it’s totally harmless but claims to be a world force (a virus not seen in years).

The Stan Collymore virus: Luckily this one doesn’t actually work, but sometimes boots up some Swedish computers.

The Glenn Hoddle virus: Disables your PC, blames it all on its previous life as a calculator, and then takes the p*** out of it.

The Ron Atkinson virus: Remains dormant for six months but then your computer goes down anyway.

The Gazza virus: Just as you think everything is ok, it all goes pear shaped.

The Rio Ferdinand virus: All drive privileges lost.

The Brian Kidd virus: Your 100MB hard drive suddenly expands to 350MB and then goes down.

  • Not that it is very likely but if you do encounter any problems, try theOn Site Man United Fan’s Technical Virus Support Hotline in London: Theyknow f*** all, they have different uniforms on every call out, it will takethem 6 hours to get down the M1 and then they’ll claim their grandparentshave supported the software for years.

Ralph Sheppard (


Second Division Results, Saturday, May 8 1999

Blackpool                 2-1  Colchester United      4,866
Ormerod (1)                    Pounewatchy (27)
Clarkson (88)
Bournemouth               0-0  Wrexham                8,439
Fulham                    3-0  Preston North End     17,176
Moody (64, pen 74, 77)
Lincoln City              0-1  Wycombe Wanderers      8,145
                               Emblen (83)
Macclesfield Town         3-4  Bristol Rovers         3,186
Askey (3)                      Cureton (41, pen 57, 85)
Tomlinson (pen 20)             Bennett (55)
Davies (48)
Manchester City           4-0  York City             32,471
Dickov (23)
Horlock (76)
Whitley, Jeff (83)
Allsopp (88)
Millwall                  0-1  Luton Town             8,494
                               Thorpe (12)
Northampton Town          2-2  Burnley                7,435
Savage (7)                     Cook (pen 69)
Howey (80)                     Cooke (88)
Notts County              0-1  Gillingham             7,815
                               Asaba (75)
Oldham Athletic           2-0  Reading                7,724
Innes (5)
Rickers (27)
Stoke City                2-0  Walsall               12,091
Connor (24, 50)
Wigan Athletic            3-1  Chesterfield           5,858
Liddell (45, 48)               Breckin (28)
McGibbon (65)

Second Division Table, up to and including Saturday, May 8 1999 (5:40pm)

                              HOME            AWAY
                         P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GS
Fulham                  46 19  3  1 50 12  12  5  6 29 20   101   79
Walsall                 46 13  7  3 37 23  13  2  8 26 24    87   63
MANCHESTER CITY         46 13  6  4 38 14   9 10  4 31 19    82   69
Gillingham              46 15  5  3 45 17   7  9  7 30 27    80   75
Preston North End       46 12  6  5 46 23  10  7  6 32 27    79   78
Wigan Athletic          46 14  5  4 44 17   8  5 10 31 31    76   75
Bournemouth             46 14  7  2 37 11   7  6 10 26 30    76   63
Stoke City              46 10  4  9 32 32  11  2 10 27 31    69   59
Chesterfield            46 14  5  4 34 16   3  8 12 12 28    64   46
Millwall                46  9  8  6 33 24   8  3 12 19 35    62   52
Reading                 46 10  6  7 29 26   6  7 10 25 37    61   54
Luton Town              46 10  4  9 25 26   6  6 11 26 34    58   51
Bristol Rovers          46  8  9  6 35 28   5  8 10 30 28    56   65
Blackpool               46  7  8  8 24 24   7  6 10 20 30    56   44
Burnley                 46  8  7  8 23 33   5  9  9 31 40    55   54
Notts County            46  8  6  9 29 27   6  6 11 23 34    54   52
Wrexham                 46  8  6  9 21 28   5  8 10 22 34    53   43
Colchester United       46  9  7  7 25 30   3  9 11 27 40    52   52
Wycombe Wanderers       46  8  5 10 31 26   5  7 11 21 32    51   52
Oldham Athletic         46  8  4 11 26 31   6  5 12 22 35    51   48
York City               46  6  8  9 28 33   7  3 13 28 47    50   56
Northampton Town        46  4 12  7 26 31   6  6 11 17 26    48   43
Lincoln City            46  9  4 10 27 27   4  3 16 15 47    46   42
Macclesfield Town       46  7  4 12 24 30   4  6 13 19 33    43   43

Dorien James (
With thanks to Soccernet


Contributions: Ashley –
News & Rumours: Peter –
Subscriptions & Club Questions: Steve –
Technical Problems: Paul –

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #499